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fall 330border63. (Sept.) Is it too late to plant Hachita Grass seed?

Hachita grass is a warm-season grass (blue grama grass). It is best to seed or plant plugs between May 15th and August 1st.

64. (Sept.) When is the first expected frost date in Albuquerque? East Mts?

The official average first frost in Albuquerque occurs on Halloween, Oct. 31st. However, this is measured at the Sunport. This is not necessarily average for all parts of Albuquerque, especially the East Mts. You might expect the first frost the second week of October in the east Mountains. Keep in mind that this can vary wildly from one year to the next. Averages are only useful to a point, just watch the weather and be prepared!

65. (Sept.) I used a spray (Glyphosate) about two weeks ago to kill milkweed, but it has not worked. What should I try next?

Resources indicate that milkweed is best controlled with glyphosate in the fall when the plant is in the late bud or flower stage. You may have tried to kill the weed a bit early. However, another important factor affecting how well glyphosate will work is the health of the plant. A well-watered healthy plant will translocate the herbicide more effectively than a water stressed plant. So, love your weeds before you try to kill them with glyphosate! So, try again a little later, but be sure the weeds are not water stressed.

66. (Sept.) For my daughter’s wedding, what plants can I plant that will be blooming in October?

Some plants that tend to bloom in October are roses, aster, chrysanthemum, goldenrod, statice, zinnias, dahlias, maximilian daisy, agastache, nepeta, chocolate flower, rudbeckia, gaillardia, salvia, and yarrow.

67. (Sept.) I had a weed growing near (3 ft.) my vegetable garden, and just found out that it is Jimson weed, and it is poisonous. Is it safe to eat the vegetables?

Jimson weed is very poisonous if you ingest the plant. Take care not to accidentally harvest any part of the Jimson weed. I find no research based references indicating that the plants in a garden will uptake poisonous alkaloids from a poisonous plant growing nearby, thus becoming poisonous themselves. Take care not to ingest any of the Jimson weed and the vegetables should be perfectly safe to eat.

68. (Sept.) Can I plant grass seed now? What kind?

September is an appropriate time to seed cool-season grasses in Albuquerque. Refer to the following table (excerpted from for the correct timing for seeding different grass species.

Grass Seeding time

Bermudagrass May 15 - Aug 1
Blue grama May 15 - Aug 1
Buffalograss May 15 - Aug 1
Zoysiagrass May 15 - Aug 1

Fine fescue Aug 15 - Sept 15
Kentucky bluegrass Aug 15 - Sept 15
Perennial ryegrass Aug 15 - Sept 15
Tall fescue Aug 15 - Sept 15

69. (Sept.) I have a Scotch pine that is turning brown. I thought it was just turning early, but none of the others are. What’s the matter?

Even evergreen trees do lose their leaves in the fall. Older needles of pine trees will turn brown and fall off easily. The newer needled (at the tips of branches) will not turn brown and fall off. If the newer needles are turning brown, then the tree may be experiencing an abiotic (non-disease) stress such as lack of water, too much water, planted too deeply, or circling/girdling roots. If the older needles are falling off, there may be nothing to worry about. If it seems that more needles are falling off than usual and it’s happening earlier than usual, this could be (again) an abiotic stress. Take a closer look at the base of the tree to identify the possibilities. Is the tree being adequately watered (deep soaks infrequently at the dripline)? Is it planted too deeply? Can you shove the tree and wiggle it easily? If you dig around the base of the tree with a trowel, do you find roots that are circling around the tree instead of radiating outward? If you find any of these clues, this could be the underlying cause for the browning needles.

70. (Oct) How often should I fertilize my rose bushes?

Roses need the “big three” Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK), as well as micronutrients, such as Iron, and Zinc. The following information was excerpted from

Nitrogen: Apply every four to six weeks, beginning just before bud break in early spring. Continue to apply nitrogen at four-week intervals until three weeks before the average date of the first fall frost. Ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) or its equivalent applied at the rate of 2 tablespoons full per plant should be sufficient for most soils. These rates may be a bit high for fertile clay soils, and somewhat low for sandy soils. Increase or decrease application rates according to amount of terminal growth the plant is making.

Phosphorus: Apply one-fifth to one-fourth cupful of 10-10-0, 10-20-0, or 16-20-0 fertilizer or equivalent evenly into the soil underneath the canopy of a newly pruned rosebush in early spring. Apply an equal amount when new growth reaches 4 to 6 inches and again when the first blossoms have faded. Additional phosphorous should not be needed for the rest of the season.

Potassium: Potash is seldom needed in New Mexico. Soil tests have shown that most soils contain adequate amounts. Occasionally, very light sands are low in potash. Even when needed, an application of 1 tablespoonful of muriate of potash, or its equivalent, per plant would be sufficient for two years or longer.

71. (Oct) How can I get rid of Bermuda grass, preferably without chemicals?

Bermudagrass is not an easy weed to control, especially when it must be controlled selectively within an established turf of another species or if it is growing in your vegetable garden or landscaped area. It can be managed nonchemically with a persistent program of removal. If the area is large, cultivate then withhold water during the summer to desiccate the unearthed stolons and rhizomes. Mulches of black plastic or geotextile landscape fabric can also be effective over large areas if light is excluded. This treatment effectively smothers the weed (along with anything else growing in the area). Bermudagrass may also be controlled with herbicides. Glyphosate is good for spot treatments. It is important to apply Glyphosate when the grass is actively growing and well watered. Repeat applications may be necessary. Another product on the market that claims to selectively kill bermudagrass and not your cool season lawn is “Bermudagrass Control for Lawns by Bayer Advanced”. This could be worth a try. Please read and follow all label instructions when applying herbicides.

72. (Oct.) How do I make and use compost tea?

I can’t answer this question without first pointing out that the jury is still out on the safety of compost tea. If tea is brewed in certain ways (adding sugar or molassas) or if unsanitary methods are used E. coli or Salmonella may breed in the compost tea. Also, the benefits of compost tea are not clearly supported by research. In other words, the research shows conflicting results.

The following paragraph is excerpted from a University of Connecticut publication:

“There are actively aerated compost (AACT) tea kits that can be purchased ranging in size from about 5 gallons to large commercial brewers. Home gardeners can put together a quick set up using a 5 gallon bucket, an aquarium pump with a bubbler, and some plastic tubing. One recipe calls for a pound (about 4 cups) of good quality compost for a five gallon bucket of water. Unchlorinated water is essential as chlorine kills microorganisms and the purpose of making an AACT is to grow them. The compost can either be added to the water and the resulting product strained before putting it in a sprayer or the compost can be contained in fine woven cheesecloth or even pantyhose. Stir and rearrange the bubblers a couple of times each day over the 2 or 3 day brewing period.”

73. (Oct.) Can Chinaberry trees grow here? Are they “legal” trees?

Chinaberry can grow in Albuquerque and do quite well. They are cold hardy to zone 7, so in an unusually cold winter, they will suffer. They are legal trees. Certain trees are restricted in Albuquerque for air quality reasons. In other words, the restricted trees produce much pollen that causes allergies. For an up-to-date list of restricted trees, please click here.